UPMC Physician Resources

University of Pittsburgh Researchers Part of “BELIEVE” Team that Received $28 Million, Five-Year NIH Award to Find HIV/AIDS Cure

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) awarded a five-year grant, totaling $28 million, to The George Washington University (GW), which will collaborate with University of Pittsburgh researchers, as well as 17 other medical institutions, to find a cure for HIV.

This award is the second iteration of the Martin Delaney Collaboratory program, which fosters public-private partnerships to accelerate HIV/AIDS cure research. Delaney, an influential AIDS activist, championed partnerships involving government, academia and industry.

The Pittsburgh arm of the project is being led by Thomas Smithgall, PhD, the William S. McEllroy Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Pitt School of Medicine.

The project is named, “Bench to Bed Enhanced Lymphocyte Infusions to Engineer Viral Eradication (BELIEVE).” The goal of this collaborative effort is to find ways to eliminate HIV reservoirs, through an innovative cell therapy approach that will focus on augmenting individuals’ natural immunity. Work in the Smithgall laboratory is focused on drug discovery targeting an HIV-1 protein that suppresses the body’s immune response to the virus.  According to Dr. Smithgall, “Working with the BELIEVE consortium, we will be in a position to examine the potential of these novel compounds to restore natural immune responses to HIV-infected cells, a critical component of an HIV cure strategy.”

The University of Pittsburgh researchers are part of a team led by GW, working with Altor Bioscience and Torque. The initiative is led by Douglas Nixon, MD, PhD, principal investigator and chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine in the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“We know that through this strategic collaboration with our research partners and a commitment to finding a cure, we will move closer to reaching our goals of eradicating HIV/AIDS,” said Nixon.

In addition to Pitt, the institutions involved in this research are Children’s National Health System; NIH; Howard University; University of Arizona; Brigham Young University; University of Minnesota; Johns Hopkins University; Seattle Children’s Hospital; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University; University of Pennsylvania; Georgetown University; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; University of Toronto, Canada; Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada; Centro de Investigación en Enfermedades Infecciosas, Mexico City, Mexico; and the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Advertising by US Cancer Centers Soars Over Past Decade, New Analysis Shows

Cancer centers promoting their services dramatically increased their advertising spending from 2005 to 2014, with the bulk of the spending by for-profit organizations, according to the results of a study published Monday.

Researchers at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health reported that 890 cancer centers spent $173 million for advertising in 2014, and just 20 centers accounted for 86 percent of the spending.

One company, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a for-profit firm with a national network of five hospitals, spent $101.7 million, 59 percent of the total. In contrast, 25 of the nation’s 60 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers spent no money on advertising, and of those that did, half spent less than $4,000, the authors said.

Of the 20 centers that accounted for the bulk of spending, five were for-profit institutions, 17 were Commission on Cancer-accredited and nine were NCI-designated centers.

The report was published Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Spending on cancer center advertising has more than tripled since 2005, and a small percent of cancer centers are responsible for the majority of spending. Patients should be aware that cancer centers that spend the most on advertising may not necessarily provide the highest quality of cancer care,” said study first author Laura Vater, MPH, a fourth-year medical student at the IU School of Medicine.

Additional work is needed to better understand how advertising may affect the cost and quality of care, she said.

In a 2014 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Vater and colleagues analyzed the content of cancer center advertising and concluded that “clinical advertisements by cancer centers frequently promote cancer therapy with emotional appeals that evoke hope and fear while rarely providing information about risks, benefits, costs or insurance availability.”

For the new study, the researchers used data from Kantar Media, an agency that tracks advertising and calculates expenditures. They obtained data for television, magazine, radio, newspaper, billboard and internet advertising. The expenditures were adjusted to 2014 U.S. dollars using the Consumer Price Index.

The researchers also identified the centers that were NCI-designated, accredited by the Commission on Cancer, were not-for-profit versus for-profit organizations, and by location.

Spending in all advertising categories grew from 2005 to 2014, led by television where $37 million was spent in 2005, rising to a peak of $107 million in 2011. Television spending declined somewhat after that, but still stood at $87 million in 2014. Print media spending rose from $11 million to $34 million. In a time when internet advertising was growing, cancer center online ads were among them—internet display advertisements rose from $300,000 in 2005 to $9 million in 2014.

“More work is needed to understand the effects of cancer center advertising on the web, as more and more people search for health information online,” said senior author Yael Schenker, MD, assistant professor in the Pitt School of Medicine. “One concern is that when advertisements are listed at the top of internet search results, patients may have trouble finding and recognizing good information.”

After Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the two biggest advertisers in 2014 were MD Anderson Cancer Center, which spent $13.9 million, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at $9.1 million.

The authors noted that the expenditure calculations could be low because advertising in cancer-specific magazines was not included, nor was advertising by affiliated organizations designed to encourage charitable donations.

The research was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant KL2TR000146 and by a University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine Junior Scholar Award.

In addition to Vater and Dr. Schenker, researchers contributing to the study were Julie M. Donohue, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and Seo Young Park, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine.

Washington Health System and UPMC Announce Cardiac Surgery Partnership

A new partnership between Washington Health System (WHS) and the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute will expand cardiac services in the Washington, Pennsylvania, area. Cardiac surgery services at Washington Hospital will now be performed by surgeons from UPMC, who will collaborate alongside WHS-Cardiovascular Care physicians and nurse practitioners, as well as all of the cardiologists and medical staff who practice at WHS.

Effective this month, a team of cardiothoracic surgeons from the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute see patients in an office located at 125 N. Franklin Road, Suite 1-A, Washington, Pa., 15301. The office is in the same building as WHS-Cardiovascular Services.

“Washington Health System is committed to enhancing the quality of health care for patients in our service area,” said Paul Cullen, MD, vice president of medical affairs for WHS. “Having UPMC’s world class cardiac surgeons, right here in our community, will be beneficial to patients as well as WHS-affiliated medical providers. This partnership helps as we continue to strengthen our medical staff of over 200 primary care physicians and specialists and complements our ongoing efforts of collaborative care.”

Through the partnership, WHS is able to expand its cardiac service offerings to include the development of a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program, other minimally invasive procedures, and the expansion of heart failure and valve disease detection and management programs.

“This partnership between WHS and UPMC for cardiovascular care markedly expands the capabilities at WHS to facilitate the delivery of state-of-the-art cardiac surgery and therapeutics to residents of Washington and Greene counties,” said Thomas Gleason, MD, chief of the UPMC Division of Cardiac Surgery and Ronald V. Pellegrini professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We look forward to jointly serving the patients in this region of western Pennsylvania.”

The cardiac surgery team at WHS includes Dr. Gleason; Chris Cook, MD, cardiac surgeon at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute; Claudio Lima, MD, director of cardiovascular surgery at UPMC Mercy and assistant professor of surgery at Pitt; and Forozan Navid, MD, cardiac surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at Pitt.

For more information, call 724-250-4310 or visit www.whs.org.

UPMC and IBM to Apply Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning to Transform Health Care Supply Chain

In an effort to apply data-driven insights to one of the most fundamental aspects of running a health care system, UPMC announced today that it has formed Pensiamo, an independent company that aims to help hospitals improve supply chain performance through a comprehensive source-to-pay offering, including cognitive analytics with IBM Watson Health technologies. IBM (NYSE:IBM) is a minority owner of Pensiamo.

Supply chain costs are the second-largest and fastest-growing expense behind labor costs for health care providers. The Institute of Medicine estimates that nearly one-third of health care spending is waste. In today’s dynamic environment, providers face mounting pressure to improve the effectiveness of patient care while controlling costs. Increasingly, providers need to understand their costs at a patient-specific level to succeed under performance-based payment systems. Yet today, few can derive such insights.

“At a time when patients are demanding higher quality and value, traditional approaches to providing health care supply chain services are no longer sufficient,” said James Szilagy, who will transition from his current role as chief supply chain officer for UPMC to chief executive officer at Pensiamo. “The new company will combine the best of UPMC’s health care supply chain experience with IBM’s expertise in non-medical procurement services, as well as IBM Watson capabilities infused with UPMC’s domain expertise. The aim is to offer providers a supply chain management approach tailored to each institution’s specialties, patient population and other unique needs, and which will learn and respond over time to the changing needs of the business.”

One of the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery and financing systems, with $12 billion in revenue, UPMC will own a majority of the new Pittsburgh-based company and be the initial customer under a long-term contract. UPMC is widely recognized for creating one of the nation’s most efficient and effective health care supply chains. The entity regularly ranks among Gartner’s annual list of top 25 health care supply chain organizations based on leadership in improving patient outcomes and lowering costs.

“IBM brings substantial experience supporting health care procurement and applying Watson technology to clinical care and research. Through this partnership, Pensiamo will offer a new category of cognitive supply chain services. This is a breakthrough the industry has been waiting for—unlocking new insights from the volumes of structured and unstructured data existing on medical products and treatments—and will drive better decisions across the purchasing process,” said Jesus Mantas, general manager, Business Consulting, IBM Global Business Services.

IBM is a leader in managing supply chain spend and operations across several industries, with more than $57 billion of spending under its management. On behalf of itself and its clients, IBM routinely manages procurement with key suppliers in such categories as travel, technology, construction, telecommunications, facilities and contingent labor.

UPMC and IBM have a long history of working together to improve the efficiency of health care operations, including dramatically lowering the cost and improving the performance of UPMC’s own data infrastructure. At the same time, UPMC has developed a number of successful supply chain ventures that also serve outside customers, including Prodigo Solutions, Health Care Pharmacy Central and BioTronics, all part of the health system’s strategy of commercializing innovation.

For more information about Pensiamo, visit www.pensiamocs.com.

UPMC to Welcome First Class at International Training Center of Excellence

UPMC clinicians and business leaders are preparing to host health care practitioners from around the world at the new UPMC International Training Center of Excellence, headquartered at UPMC East. From July 11 to 29, participants from health care organizations in China and Singapore will attend the center’s flagship course, the International Health Care Management Program, to further their understanding of operational and clinical topics.

“As UPMC has expanded its reach around the globe, our partners have increasingly sought our help in teaching leaders best practices for managing in today’s complex and rapidly changing health care environment,” said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC International. “With the creation of this unique center, we are responding to that demand and helping participants bring world-class care close to their homes, wherever they are in the world.”

The International Health Care Management Program will be offered four times a year, and each new session provides the opportunity to create a highly customizable program, with seminars, workshops and shadowing opportunities designed to meet the needs of those attending. Experts from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business will share their knowledge about several key aspects of health care: quality and safety, leadership, planning and operations, finance and information technology.

The UPMC International Training Center of Excellence is overseen by newly appointed director Anjali “Juli” Kundu, who has held various strategy and management roles at UPMC over the last six years. Through her involvement on the steering committee for the new center, Kundu was critical in orchestrating a successful launch for the program.

In addition to the International Health Care Management Program, the center offers a Nurse Observership Program, the UPMC International Administrative Fellowship Program and medical student residencies, as well as other customized learning experiences. It also will oversee the planning and coordination for training activities related to existing UPMC International engagements in Kazakhstan and China.

“As one of the newest hospitals in the UPMC system—able to incorporate all of our best practices in facility design, patient and staff engagement and clinical development—UPMC East is pleased to host our new international training center,” said Mark Sevco, president of UPMC East. “At the same time, we will be collaborating with clinicians and business leaders from throughout UPMC to make this one of the richest health care learning experiences available in the country.”

Through the UPMC International Division, UPMC shares its clinical, technological and managerial knowledge and expertise with partners around the world, customizing solutions to benefit patients and regions. The goal is to advance UPMC’s mission of transforming the way health care is provided, while revitalizing the economy of western Pennsylvania.

UPMC Named Among ‘Most Wired Advanced’ Health Systems in Nation

UPMC has been named one of the nation’s “Most Wired Advanced” health systems by Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN), the journal of the American Hospital Association, continuing the health system’s 18-year run on the annual list.

The survey measures information technology use and adoption among hospitals nationwide and examines how they are leveraging technology to improve performance and value for patients. The 2016 results are based on a survey completed by almost 750 participants, representing 2,200 hospitals, or almost 40 percent of those in the US

Although UPMC has achieved “Most Wired” recognition for 18 consecutive years, the recently added “Advanced” designation is based on stricter verification procedures and advanced levels of performance across four focus areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration

“This recognition is a testament not only to our information technology team but to our excellent clinicians and business leaders, who play a vital role in ensuring that our use of technology improves the lives of patients and UPMC Health Plan members,” said UPMC Chief Information Officer Ed McCallister. “In this rapidly changing health care landscape, the innovative use of technology is essential to improving quality and lowering costs.”

Over the past five years, UPMC has invested more than $1.5 billion in technology to support clinical excellence and administrative efficiency. UPMC is one of the nation’s earliest and most sophisticated users of electronic medical records (EMRs). More than a dozen UPMC hospitals, as well as UPMC outpatient facilities, are at the highest levels of EMR use, as measured by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics.

The July H&HN cover story detailing Most Wired results is available at www.hhnmag.com.

CMS Selects UPMC Oncologists and UPMC Health Plan to Participate in New ‘Oncology Care Model’ Pilot

UPMC CancerCenter oncologists and the UPMC Health Plan have been selected as one of nearly 200 physician group practices and 17 health insurance companies to participate in an innovative federal program designed to enhance quality and coordination of care for cancer patients, while lowering costs.

The five-year Oncology Care Model (OCM) pilot payment project, overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), aims to align physician incentives with improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care delivery.  As part of CMS’s broader move to pay physicians for “value” instead of volume, the program aims to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits by helping patients with improved coordination of and access to key services.

The participating UPMC practice, Oncology Hematology Associates (OHA), is one of the largest integrated community networks of cancer care specialists in the country, providing the latest advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. OHA has more than 19 sites throughout western Pennsylvania and has over 168,000 patient visits a year.

“As one of the largest integrated health care provider-payer systems in the country, UPMC has been a leader in developing new models of accountable, patient-focused care,” said Peter Ellis, M.D., deputy director for clinical services at UPMC CancerCenter. “By taking part in this pilot, we believe that UPMC CancerCenter can also play a leading role in developing a model for affordable, high-quality cancer care that can be replicated across the country.”

The UPMC Health Plan is supporting the new model through its own incentives and support services, part of a systemwide effort to transform the delivery of care.

“The UPMC Health Plan, as part of an integrated delivery system, is committed to partnering with CMS to demonstrate how value-based cancer care can improve quality and effectiveness for our members,” said Stephen Perkins, MD, chief medical officer of commercial and Medicare services for the UPMC Health Plan.

Cancer is one of the most common diseases in the United States, with more than 1.6 million individuals receiving a cancer diagnosis each year. According to CMS, a large majority of those diagnosed are over 65 and are Medicare beneficiaries.

To participate in the OCM, oncology providers and insurers must meet multiple requirements, including robust patient navigation, advanced use of an electronic health record, round-the-clock access to clinicians and enhanced outcomes reporting.

The UPMC CancerCenter already meets the majority of the requirements and is enhancing programs to ensure patients receive well-coordinated cancer care. Every cancer patient will receive a detailed cancer care plan to guide his or her treatment. This will cover diagnosis, treatment goals, quality-of-life considerations, care coordination and psychosocial concerns. Following treatment, patients will be provided a survivorship care plan, which includes a summary of treatment delivered and ongoing care, schedules for future visits and testing, as well as management of treatment-related effects. OHA is also improving a nurse triage function and implementing additional management tools to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

The names of the practices and payers participating in the OCM, and more information about the model, can be found on the model’s website: http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Oncology-Care/. The Oncology Care Model begins on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2021.

UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers Offer Tips for a Safe Summer

Summer is the time to have fun, but many times it can be filled with dangers. UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers and the UPMC Office of Prehospital Services, offer some important summertime injury prevention and education tips.

Fireworks
Fireworks are spectacular to watch and a great American tradition. However, these explosive devices are very dangerous. Even seemingly harmless sparklers pose a serious injury risk—they can reach temperatures as high as 1,800˚F, a temperature that easily burns skin and can create permanent, devastating injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are on average 230 fireworks-related injuries near and on the 4th of July each year.

“Each year we treat many people, especially children and teens, around 4th of July celebrations who have been injured by fireworks. Many of those injuries involve an amputation of a limb or loss of vision,” said Jenny Ziembicki, MD, medical director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “We want to remind everyone that fireworks should only be handled by professionals and enjoyed at a safe distance.”

For more information, view these 4th of July Injury Prevention Tips and Information.

Household Burns/Fires
House fires do not have a season. The danger is real and present throughout the year. More than 2,500 people die and nearly 13,000 are injured in home fires every year, yet many people aren’t aware of the potential fire hazards that exist in their own homes. The kitchen stove, a burning candle, or festive lights are among the common household items that can turn dangerous very quickly. In an effort to prevent such a tragedy, the UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers have donated 100 smoke detectors to the City of Pittsburgh Fire Department for distribution to city residents.

Kitchen Fires
Whenever you are working with hot food and liquids, ensure the cooking area is free of obstacles and distractions, and that pot handles are turned toward the middle of the stove or grill to avoid accidental spillage. Use oven mitts when handling hot items.

If a grease fire occurs, turn off the heat source. If it is contained to a pan or pot, cover it with a lid or cookie sheet. NEVER attempt to extinguish with water. Do not attempt to move the pan. If the grease fire is not contained to a pot, a chemical fire extinguisher can be used. If you are unable to safely extinguish the fire, evacuate and call 911.

UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers also have donated burn safety items for distribution by local EMS agencies, including glow sticks to be used instead of sparklers, oven mitts for cooking and barbeque burn prevention, as well as water temperature “duckies” to prevent bath-time scald injuries in children.

Campfires and Bonfires
Every year in the U.S., thousands of people are injured in accidents involving recreational fires. Many of these accidents involve camp fires and their impact can be devastatingly debilitating.

The most important tip is to stop the burning process quickly by removing any clothing or substance involved in the burn injury. Cool the area immediately with cool water. Do not apply ice, ointment or other home remedy. Apply a dry dressing and go to the nearest urgent care center or emergency department for evaluation.

UPMC Mercy Trauma and Burn Centers wish you a happy and healthy summer of fun! View these additional Summer Safety Tips and enjoy the season.

For more information concerning community events at which injury prevention and safety tips can be shared, call UPMC Mercy Trauma Services at 412-232-8375.

As the region’s only combined Level I Regional Resource Trauma and American Burn Association (ABA) Verified Burn Center, UPMC Mercy delivers both emergency trauma treatment and longer-term burn care. UPMC Mercy has been a leader in providing comprehensive care to patients of trauma and burn injuries. Opened in 1967, UPMC Mercy was the first burn center in Pennsylvania and the 17th in the United States. The American Burn Association (ABA) verification program is a joint program between the ABA and the American College of Surgeons. It is a rigorous review process designed to verify a burn center’s resources required for the provision of optimal care to burn patients from the time of injury through rehabilitation. The combination of burn and trauma care services gives UPMC Mercy the unique ability to care for the most critically ill and injured patients.

UPMC First in Region to Use Next Generation Gamma Knife for Brain Tumors

UPMC is the first hospital in the region and the third institution in the United States to treat patients with the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon®. Using a stereotactic radio surgery system (SRS), a type of radiation therapy that condenses the Gamma Knife’s high-power energy on a small area, the machine enables physicians to perform non-invasive, computer-driven, bloodless brain surgery to destroy tumors and vascular malformations once considered inoperable. Despite the name, SRS does not require surgical incisions.

“UPMC’s history of innovation in radiosurgery began in 1987 when we installed North America’s first unit, which we have used to treat more than 14,000 patients,” said L. Dade Lunsford, MD, director of the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery. Dr. Lunsford trained in Sweden under Professor Lars Leksell, the inventor of SRS and the Gamma Knife.

“Each of the five previous generations of Gamma Knife units has improved efficiency and allows us to provide a highly effective option for the many patients who receive treatment each year at UPMC,” Dr. Lunsford said. “With the option of a frame-based or frameless approach for non-invasive cranial immobilization, Icon gives us a new way to treat a wide array of complex neurological conditions, including brain tumors, vascular disease, facial nerve pain and functional disorders.”

The Icon’s SRS uses MRI and other radiological images to identify and target precise locations within the brain to ensure dosage is appropriately distributed to the area, regardless of the position of the patient’s head. This minimizes side effects and enables treatment of larger tumors and those close to critical brain structures.

The Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery began treating patients with the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon in May. The Center serves as an international training and outcomes analysis site, using the latest generation of radio-surgical technologies and treats more than 650 patients per year. UPMC has trained more than 2,000 surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and other health care providers in the use of brain radiosurgery during the past 20 years.

Dr. Lunsford is a consultant for and stockholder in Stockholm, Sweden-based Elekta AB, maker of the Gamma Knife Icon system.

Broccoli Sprout Extract May Protect Against Oral Cancer Recurrence

Potent doses of broccoli sprout extract activate a “detoxification” gene and may help prevent cancer recurrence in survivors of head and neck cancer, according to a trial by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, partner with UPMC CancerCenter, confirming preliminary results presented last year at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.

It is the first study demonstrating that the extract protects against oral cancer, with the results of human, animal and laboratory tests reported today in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. This research is funded through Pitt’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant in head and neck cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

“With head and neck cancer, we often clear patients of cancer only to see it come back with deadly consequences a few years later,” said lead author Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, co-director of the UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Center of Excellence. “Unfortunately, previous efforts to develop a preventative drug to reduce this risk have been inefficient, intolerable in patients and expensive. That led us to ‘green chemoprevention’—the cost-effective development of treatments based upon whole plants or their extracts.”

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress, have a high concentration of the naturally occurring molecular compound sulforaphane, which previously has been shown to protect people against environmental carcinogens.

Dr. Bauman and her colleagues treated human head and neck cancer cells in the laboratory with varying doses of sulforaphane and a control, and compared them to normal, healthy cells that line the throat and mouth. The sulforaphane induced both types of cells to increase their levels of a protein that turns on genes that promote detoxification of carcinogens, like those found in cigarettes, and protect cells from cancer.

In a small preclinical trial, 10 healthy volunteers drank or swished fruit juice mixed with broccoli sprout extract for several days. The volunteers had no significant problems tolerating the extract and the lining of their mouths showed that the same protective genetic pathway activated in the laboratory cell tests was activated in their mouths, meaning that the sulforaphane was absorbed and directed to at-risk tissue.

Dr. Bauman also collaborated with senior author Daniel E. Johnson, PhD, professor of medicine at Pitt and a senior scientist in the UPCI Head and Neck Cancer Program, to see how the extract performed in mice predisposed to head and neck cancer. The mice who received the sulforaphane developed far fewer tumors than their counterparts who did not receive the extract.

The results of the mouse, human and lab studies have been so successful that Dr. Bauman has started a larger clinical trial in volunteers previously cured of head and neck cancer. These participants are taking capsules containing broccoli seed powder, which is more convenient to take regularly than the extract mixed with juice.

“Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3 percent of all cancers in the US, but that burden is far greater in many developing countries,” said Dr. Bauman. “A preventative drug created from whole plants or their extracts may ease the costs of production and distribution, and ultimately have a huge positive impact on mortality and quality of life in people around the world.”

Additional authors on this research are Yan Zang, PhD, Malabika Sen, PhD, Changyou Li, PhD, Lin Wang, MD, Daniel P. Normolle, PhD, and Thomas W. Kensler, PhD, all of Pitt; Patricia A. Egner, MS, and Jed W. Fahey, ScD, both of Johns Hopkins University; and Jennifer R. Grandis, MD, FACS, of the University of California at San Francisco.

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants P50CA097, R01CA190610, and P30 CA4747904; and by the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation.

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